Isa attributes LionsXII struggles to lack of confidence
The 2013 Malaysia Super League (MSL) winning side lacked the guile to breach Felda United’s goal on Wednesday night and had to settle for a goalless draw in their Malaysia Cup Group A opener.
This is the ninth time they have failed to pick up a win at home this season (including the Malaysian FA Cup second-round game against Pahang FA), a stark difference from last season where they won all but two games played at Jalan Besar Stadium.
Isa had admitted that the team needed to ensure they did not suffer early elimination from the competition.
“We used to be strong at home back then, but it seems like we struggle now,” the LionsXII skipper told FourFourTwo after the game.
“To start off with a draw is disappointing as it’s our home game. It’s not good to lose points here as this is where we should dominate the game.
“The problem, I think, is the confidence within the whole team. Once we get that sorted out, we can focus better.”
Apart from the obvious disappointment, Isa was pleased that his side kept a clean sheet – something which they had not done often this season, as well as completing his first 90 minutes since making his return from a heel injury.
“We were concerned with their two strong strikers (Edward Wilson and Makeche Ndumba),” the 28-year-old said.
“My job was to protect Bai (Baihakki Khaizan) and Safuwan (Baharudin) and I thought we did a really good job in preventing them from getting clear-cut shots.
“Also overall I feel good to come unscathed and last the whole 90 minutes. I feel much better than before. I did a fitness test and I did way better than before I got injured.
“I can (still) improve a lot more and help in terms of attacking. I did my defensive duties but we need goals to win games.”
The LionsXII will next take on cup holders Pahang on Tuesday and Isa wants ‘nothing less than a win’ to keep their Cup dreams alive.
“We have no time on our side,” he said bluntly.
“The next game against Pahang (will come soon) and we need to win. It’s very crucial for us to get away from the chasing pack.”
With only 4,199 fans turning up at the Jalan Besar Stadium last night – one of the worst-ever attendance figures for a LionsXII game, Isa hopes that this is a figure will improve in the upcoming games.
“Yes, it’s quite disappointing definitely,” he said.
“I understand that we’ve not been performing well and this result doesn’t help, but I hope that the fans can still believe in us and keep supporting us.”